Pick up the phone and be heard above the clatter.
We all know digital communication isn’t as personal or powerful as a live conversation. But we tell ourselves that it’s faster, easier, and more convenient. And that’s just not always true. Digital conversations often take longer and become far more complicated than a simple phone call. Perhaps that’s why so many emails go unanswered.
Why Not Pick Up the Damn Phone?
Sending an email was the wrong move for Alex. He wrote to Pat, a current client, about a potential business venture that could benefit both of them. Alex suggested several options in great detail in his message, which was straightforward enough. Yet Pat hadn’t written him back.
Turns out, Alex knew Pat very well; he had been a loyal client for a long time, and they saw each other every four to six weeks. So when I heard the story, I was baffled. Why wouldn’t Alex simply call Pat, share his idea, and ask for Pat’s thoughts?
Nix the Back and Forth
It might take less time to send one email than to make one phone call, but if you have to exchange five or six emails before everyone’s on the same page, you lose out in the long run.
That’s why I liked Dave Brock’s post, “The Most Important Improvement In Efficiency, Actually Talking To People.” He writes:
Too often, over time, our quest for efficiency makes us very efficient–that is we get a lot of activities done–but has an adverse impact on our results.
We get caught up in endless emails streams–back and forth, back and forth, ping, pong…….., yet we never really identify or resolve the issues. Or worse yet, more people than necessary get involved–using that ever so wasteful tool called, “reply all.” Now what may have been a simple query snow balls into diverse opinions.
What should have been simple and easy snowballs into complexity—despite our efficiency leveraging the tools to improve our efficiency. (Read the rest of the article.)
Very well put! You don’t know what other people want or need to know. You might be giving them tons of irrelevant information without ever answering the questions that are important to them.
When you skip the email and actually talk to people, you cut through the clutter and get to a resolution faster. There’s no misinterpreting a message, no need for half a dozen follow-up emails, and no filing the message away to deal with later, only to forget it exists.
Added bonus: You get to reconnect with people in your network, find out what’s new with them, and ask how you can help. And considering relationships are the key to referral-based selling, nurturing your network is always time well spent.